Gotrovo Blog is written by Mums for Mums to help their little ones be happy and healthy, and grow into productive, happy healthy adults!
WE WON!! WE ARE OFFICIALLY THE BLOGGER OF THE WEEK OVER AT THE BABY SPOT.CA (21 NOVEMBER 2016) - READ OUR BLOG HERE!
It was my father's birthday this week. Always a special and poignant day, but for me all the more so because he's not here to celebrate. So the responsibility, I feel, falls to me to remember that day and mark it as being special.
My very special dad died a long time ago...half of my life ago, in fact. So he's never known my children and, other than a photo that sits in our home, they've never had the chance to know him.
But that doesn't mean I can't try to let them know who he is, or where their family has come from.
There's no point pretending, we all have low days. No matter what face we want to present in the playground, no matter how calm we wish to appear to the mothering public, there are days when it all just gets to you. And as we all know, the best part is that half the time we don't even know why. Hormones, maybe; an end to a holiday; things not going so well on the work or personal front; worry over the kids. Chances are it's a little bit of all of these, and this is where I found myself recently...utterly blue, and texting my husband to ask his opinion of me throwing in the towel on the business I'd worked so hard to create (albeit around the full-time care and increasingly hectic schedules of 4 little people!)
He's not one to shock easily, but suffice to say I think he was a little taken aback! Enough that he managed to start throwing positive ideas at me in a series of mid-meeting, or between-meeting, texts. It helped to know he was behind me, but I still felt I need something to break my mood, and to help me self-regulate when I am feeling down. I HATE that my mood can be governed by the success or otherwise of a day's trading, or by the issues that (inevitably) crop up as an everyday part of business. I want to enjoy my days with my little people, and not allow the goings-on of an Amazon trading account to be an influence on my life and general state of happiness...it's not like my sales figures actually CHANGE anything, other than my own sense of self-worth. Time, I think, to look at the big picture, and lighten up.
We've just returned from a family meal out with the grandparents
and two of their friends. A rare but enjoyable treat for us. But it was noticeable not just for its rarity value, but for the comments that we drew from my in-laws' friends. One friend works in
the NHS, another in the hospitality and travel industry. Both in their early 60's, both young grandparents, they see a lot of family life.
As we brought out books, pens, stickers and word searches to entertain our young children, they noted how nice it was to see children using pens and paper. So many children these days, they said, are entertained by screens and electronic games, especially during meals and in waiting rooms. They favour the interactive engagement of "the old school tools". Children grow up so quickly, they felt....why not engage and play with them while you can?
"Water....the most essential nutrient, but often the most ignored"...so says a poster hanging in our school canteen.
I agree. I've seen the effects of dehydration in children - constipation, which at a young age is the herald of endless tummy ache and discomfort; fatigue, especially in the heat; headaches...I could go on. Hydration - or the lack of it - is a serious issue.
But it can be really tough getting kids to drink, and sometimes it's a toss-up between hydration and health when faced with sweeter alternatives that children will more willingly consume. It's a choice a parent sometimes resents. But recently we came across the lovely people at Water for Health...and just look what they have to offer! You can read all about it in their fabulous guest blog below. This is something I will definitely be trying in my household! We'd love to hear your thoughts.
My friend's son got lost (or perhaps I should say separated from us) very briefly in the park a couple of weeks ago. My friend and I were there together, watching as six of our children climbed an enormous old oak tree. Given their activity, our attention was focused upwards on the tree and them climbing safely, as we stood at the foot of it directing them. So, regrettably, we didn't notice when her son took hold of the football we'd also brought with us, and wandered slightly further away than we thought. Not far, in the final analysis, just twenty yards or so to the crowded play swings, but it was far enough in a big park to scare us and him very badly.
I've always taught my kids to stand still and shout for mummy if they get lost. On this occasion my friend's child did call out for us, and a kind father helped him, and he was able to accurately describe the purple top my friend was wearing, so that we located each other within a couple of minutes. But they were horrible minutes.
I recently entered a blogging competition...eeek! I know from reading the biographies of many other bloggers that this is not uncommon or ground-breaking, and there are many award-winning bloggers out there. But it's new for me, so time to take a deep breath ...!
Anyway, my entry required me to consider WHY I blog, so I thought I'd share my responses with you. And then, it's just a question of waiting and keeping my fingers crossed for good news! Watch this space (but maybe not too closely...!)
We're only just past Halloween and it's onward to the fireworks displays. Great fun if it's your thing, but that's not always the way for little people! I recall my eldest at 2.5 years old being utterly terrified of the bangs, and sitting in her room night after night as she tried to get to sleep through the deafening noises that seemed to be coming from just outside our window.
I LOVE fireworks nights with my children now, but boy oh boy did I curse the seemingly endless nights of celebration back then.
But this meant I had to get resourceful, and find that there ARE ways to enjoy fireworks, even with children who aren't a fan of the loud noises.
Half term is over and I am blue. Really....I feel sad, and I know that when the morning comes and I wake up to the idea of getting multiple children out of the house on a tight timeline and saying goodbye to them in the playground, I will feel really low.
I love the holidays. I love my children being around me. I love the time we share together and the fun and memories we create.
I'm not saying I love every minute of it, or that there aren't brief points when I want to explode, but overall this is what I call my precious time. If that makes me soppy, so be it, I can live with that label when it comes to my kids.
But for all that, I know that going back to school is the right thing for them. They've asked for home schooling after they heard about it in the playground...I was pretty taken aback when they came out with that one as I'd be careful never to put it into their heads. But while I think there are downsides to school (for example, I think in the UK children start formal education far too young), I truly believe the benefits of structured schooling far outweigh the sadness that we feel at the end of a holiday.
In a meeting of the government's Education committee last week, the School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, suggested that the increasing working hours, and consequent issues over recruitment and
retention of teachers, were in part the result of an "over-marking" culture. By which, it seems, he means that teachers spend too long marking homework with, and I quote the article here "different coloured pens" Instead, he suggested, all
work should be marked with a simple grade, and only when it is clear a concept has not been understood should they leave a written comment. Teachers are not "working smartly", he suggested.
Now I'm no expert in this field, but I confess this left me puzzled and feeling a little aggrieved at a number of levels.
Firstly, the idea that reading a piece of homework and awarding it a grade, as opposed to reading it and offering pertinent comments, would generate a significant time saving in a teacher's day
seems highly unlikely to me. I seriously doubt teachers are spending time leaving what they'd consider to be spurious comments, and if they are, what (Ofsted) might be their motivation for doing
It would seem to me that the more significant aspects of work beyond the classroom must be around (1) lesson planning and (2) the documentation of achievements, progress and "value add".
Whoooowhoooo!!! Halloween is almost upon us!
I love this time of year....the excitement of Halloween, picking costumes and carving pumpkins, trick or treating, fireworks displays and sparklers. It's no surprise that my favourite stories growing up were The Worst Witch series! I am, it is fair to say, a total child at heart.
But much as I love this time of year with my children, I remember only too well that just a few years ago they were too little to share in the fun of trick or treating. They got too tried and cold, or scared by other ghosts and ghouls out in the street. It was all just a bit beyond them.
I don't know about you, but for me this half term has flown by. Usually it seems the longest of the school periods (in fact I think in weeks it probably is...) but for some reason it has gone by in a flash this year. And so, instead of limping across the finishing line, as we usually do, I feel caught out by my lack of preparation for the half term break. Bad mummy!
I'm never one for a lot of forward planning (too much effort), but while I love to book in one or two days of meeting with distant friends or planned activities, I love the feeling of getting up in the morning and debating with the kids what we will do for the day. (Pyjama day, anyone...??!)
This does have the downside though that sometimes the boredom kicks in...for the kids, not for me so much. There's always the thrill of laundry to entertain! When they're not overtired and being inventive, we can find endless ways to entertain ourselves. Especially with Halloween decorations to make (but more of that in another upcoming blog). But when the tiredness kicks in by mid afternoon, the arguments can start.
Now at this point I could (and sometimes do) turn the T.V. on. I don't like the thing, but it has it's purpose. But I usually find that this just leads to as many arguments about WHAT we watch as we were encountering in the first place, so it's hardly a perfect solution. Plus I kind of resent paying to download films more than once now and again.
But what can we do instead?
We were thrilled when we were asked recently to review the Nutrifillit, the new-to-market smoothie
pouch that is a fantastic complement to the much vaunted Nutribullet*
We all know that smoothies are a fantastic way to cram your five (or ten!) a day into one simple, health boosting drink. But when you're out and about a lot with the kids, or in the office all day, they aren't always the easiest thing to take with you. They need to be properly preserved or they go from delicious to "off" rather too quickly. Making smoothies yourself is much more fun, and more cost effective, than buying them off the shelf, and has the advantage of getting the kids knowledgeable and involved in the preparation of them. But how to you keep them fresh and available when you're constantly on the go...? That's where the Nutrifillit comes in.
*Nutrifillit is manufactured and retailed separately to Nutribullet.
Tears. A lot of them. And deep, shuddering breathing too, like they were genuinely scared. Believe it or not this was the reaction of my friend's five year old when presented with a ham
and cheese omelette, cooked by dad, for lunch.
Sometimes the reaction of children to unknown meals, to tastes and textures they aren't familiar with, or simply to a different presentation of food, can baffle us. This child eats eggs in different forms...not a favourite food, but passable....and they eat cheese too. Ham, not so much. But the presentation of this combination of ingredients left them crying and shying away from the table, much to the understandable frustration of the chef. Even the presence of a favourite food...baked beans...on the plate did nothing to appease.
Sometimes I write poetry. It kind of goes hand in hand with the part of me that likes writing riddles.
Anyway, I wrote this a couple of years ago, and in advance of MacMillan's coffee morning tomorrow, I decided to share it now in honour of all those battling the terrible disease that is cancer. I hope it can bring some peace and comfort even to a few people.
Mindfulness is a term we hear bandied about a lot at the moment, and I know a lot of people who rate it highly as a way to cope with stress and keep themselves on an even keel.
But like anything it takes time...to research it and learn how to do it, to implement it and see the benefits.
So despite being intrigued by the concept it's not something I've every really understood fully enough to implement...because I've never found the time to go through the process.
But with the knowledge of how well regarded it is, my interest was piqued when I came across this post on a Facebook page just now, courtesy of www.gooeybrains.com. It's all about how we interact with our children..and I mean REALLY interact.
That's it folks! The Olympics are over for another four years (bar the shouting of the closing ceremony), and Team GB are officially Olympic heros! Ranking second in the medals tables, we've beaten China for the first time. That's no small feat, especially given our population differences, and a testament to the tens of millions poured into elite training. I'm not sure if it's a justification for it, when there are so many other possible and worthy causes for those funds in an era of austerity, but that's another debate...and anyway, let's face it, we've probably all enjoyed the sense of achievement these games have brought.
But...what about the all-important 'legacy' we hear politicians talk about so much? Does it really exist?
We love treasure hunts, as you may have guessed, but what we love even more than our own treasure hunts is seeing other people having fun with Gotrovo treasure hunt games!!!!
We would love to see your photos of the fun you and your family and friends are having with Gotrovo Treasure Hunt Game, so we racked our brains to come up with a fun way to celebrate the launch of our new website, and to entice you to share more of your #GotrovoFun with us, and we thought what better way than an easy to enter competition which gives you multiple chances to win Gotrovo Prizes!!
Each time you share your photos of your treasure hunt fun on social media, and include #GotrovoFun in your post, on Facebook, twitter or instagram, then you get a free entry into
our prize draw!!
At last, summer is here, and with it the summer holidays. Hooray!!! I love this time, spending long, sun-filled days with my children, without a schedule to think about, classes to run to,
and fixed bedtimes to observe (or pay lip service to, at least!). This is the time for day trips to wherever we fancy, picnics and splash parks, bike rides, seeing friends we'd never
otherwise find time to meet, and, when we are all exhausted, movies with microwave popcorn!
I don't have a schedule for the holidays, I'm not one for summer camps or crash courses, so it's easy to not have to plan too much. We can do what we please without having to fit other things around it.
We've been lucky enough to spend a few days with our children by the sea. I sat on the sand tonight by a beachside restaurant listening to my children describe the sunset as a "rainbow" of colours, and I marvelled at their creativity.
They spent the evening building a stone "castle", digging in the seabed for "cement" (wet sand) and carrying an endless supply of rocks and stones to build their fortress.
They found a stick to place in the top and used their brother's striped shirt (removed earlier on to prevent him ruining it with tomato pasta) as a flag.
Raising money can be hard. Whether it's on our TV screens or closer to home, there always seems to be another call on our resources. The causes are many and deserving, but nonetheless, when you are a society or small charity competing with all this noise to raise funds for your own local cause, it can be tough to get heard.
What's more, finding novel ideas that really grab people's attention is difficult too. Much as we love them, we've all bought the Christmas mugs and cards designed by our children, attended the summer fairs, and lost at the quiz nights. These events will continue to be run and to hold appeal because of their emotional connection to our children, or the social offering of a night out...but for newly formed PTAs and societies, the question often raises its head...what can we do that's a bit different?
The best way to have fun with all the family, fun no matter what the age differences of your children.
Different roles suit different skills, everyone gets to join in with Gotrovo, so there'll be no more arguments!
Read some of our reviews of happy customers who also know Gotrovo is rather awesome! Below are a selection of reviews from Amazon.co.uk/gotrovo and Amazon.com/gotrovo